Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen swore on Sunday that "no one can erase Taiwan's existence," under pressure from China to sort out clues to the island.
China has claimed the self-governing democratic island for a long time. Recently, however, it has stepped up a campaign by seeking to strengthen Chinese sovereignty by ordering foreign companies to label Taiwan as part of China.
Reuters also reports that China has also reduced the number of countries that recognize Taiwan, now 18 years old, and Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic are switching their relations to Beijing this year.
Before flying to Los Angeles, where she will spend a night off Belize and Paraguay, Tsai strikes a defiant tone. 19659005] "When you go abroad, the whole world can see Taiwan, you can see our country as well as our support for democracy and freedom," said Tsai, reports Reuters. "We just have to be firm so nobody can wipe out Taiwan's existence."
China, which believes that Tsai wants to push for Taiwan's formal independence, has already complained in the US about its American stopovers, to which Houston belongs way back.
Although Tsai says that she wants to maintain the status quo with China, she will also try to reaffirm the relationship between Washington and Taipei and shore up support for local elections in Taiwan in November under renewed pressure from Beijing. 19659005] During her stays in the US, Tsai also meets with business leaders to discuss how Taiwan can drive investment and procurement with the US
Washington has no formal relationship with Taiwan, but is the island's strongest ally and the only one foreign arms supplier. 19659005] Tsai's stop-overs come when China and the United States are involved in a trade war, fueling Beijing's anger with Washington.